How to keep your promises: JavaScript edition

The first time I needed to access a third-party API on the web I remember doing something like the following (in PHP):

$data = file_get_contents('http://a/resource/somewhere');

This has the advantage of being really easy to read: like all other parts of my code, I assign a variable to an expression and expect that it will be filled with a value of some sort. What I never thought about at the time was how much was going on behind the scenes: unlike an basic expression that performs a math operation or comparison, a whole HTTP request and response is going on before $data can be filled. During this time, my program pauses and no further code is executed.


In the beginning was the code, and the code gave life, and the code was life

The oldest gene we possess carries the information to make something called the 5S RNA, a component of the ribosome. This molecular machine is responsible for translating a DNA sequence into a protein sequence. The reason this is critical is that chemical properties of DNA are pretty simple: it's more or less just a carrier for information. Proteins on the other hand, have astoundingly complex chemistry: they can synthesize or break down sugar, create pigments to give us a specific hair colour, give us or prevent cancer. In short: everything.


Journals: Your domain is now your reputation. Protect it.

One facet of web sites that often confuses clients who have not been involved with the web before is that they have to pay separately for their domain and their hosting. While the different bills can be annoying and seem like a scam, there is very good reason to keep them distinct and one should actually be wary of any "package deals" that sell both at once.


How to choose your first programming language

I do not have Google Analytics on my blog (well, I do, but I seem to have forgotten the account it's associated with), and when I discovered my mistake, also discovered also that I didn't really care. If my blog doesn't have an audience, that's hardly a reason to stop blogging, and if it does, I don't need my topics to change based on traffic. I write mainly for me - if someone else finds it interesting or useful or insightful, that's great; if not, I'll try again next time.


Readability vs Instant Articles: how does Content save itself?

When I was in University there appeared - quite suddenly - new Thing called Napster, that allowed people to obtain Content (in this case audio files) for free; whereas just a few years before we had to pay for it. Or at least, the process of obtaining for free had previously been arduous enough that many were willing to pay for it.


Why I am against mandatory vaccinations

You knew it would start to happen eventually. California has passed a law effectively making vaccines mandatory, and polls suggest other jurisdictions may follow suit. California has essentially said that a minority of opponents should no longer be able to threaten the safety of the majority of vaccinators, let alone their own children. Perhaps the days of the anti-vaccine scourge are finally numbered. I, however, do not want it to happen this way.


Book Review: Web Development with Node and Express

Even among the bewilidering array of backend web languages and frameworks, Node.js stands alone. It isn't a language - it's just an implementation of Javascript, and is it isn't really a framework, either. At it's most basic level, it feels more like a Javascript API for configuring a server.